Responding to news that Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton promised on April 25 to fill half of her presidential cabinet with women if elected president, Donald Trump said that Clinton was playing the "woman card."
"That's all she's got, and it is pandering. It's a weak card in her hands. In another person's hands it could be a powerful card. I'd love to see a woman president, but she's the wrong person," Trump said during an interview on Fox and Friends, according to The Atlantic.
Later in the evening, after his victories in 5 states, Trump continued this line of attack:
"Frankly, if Hillary Clinton were a man, I don't think she'd get 5 percent of the vote. The only thing she's got going is the women's card. And the beautiful thing is, women don't like her. Look how well I did with women tonight."
Quite frankly, Trump is not going to have nearly as many female voters supporting him in the general election, and it is precisely because of comments like this. Where his supporters see a man "telling it like it is" by failing to adhere to "politically correct" conversational norms, his opponents see a boorish, dangerous man who seeks to bring out the worst emotions in people.
And this is precisely what his poll averages with female voters consistently show: While female voters may not particularly have any special affinity for Hillary Clinton (most polls have found her favorability ratings among women to be slightly negative), they largely believe she would be far preferable to Trump as president. In a Reuters poll, American female voters chose Clinton, by a 14 point margin.
The Atlantic's David A. Graham notes that during the second statement Trump made, New Jersey First Lady Mary Pat Christie seemed to roll her eyes. Such an innocuous gesture nonetheless suggests that Trump chose the worst possible way to phrase his attack on Clinton's credentials and is simply attempting to tap into resentments about the important role gender has played throughout the campaign.
Trump did himself absolutely no favors during an April 28 NBC interview. When asked about the comments, he said "frankly, all I'm doing is stating the obvious." He said that without the "woman card," Clinton "would not even be a viable person to run for city council positions," according to Politico.
At this point, you can probably start to imagine yourself hearing "the woman card" over and over again in your head -- because it is going to be used in ad after ad against Trump if he actually becomes the nominee (and perhaps even if he does not). Instead of criticizing Clinton on her record and taking the interview as a chance to defend himself against charges that his comments are demeaning towards women, he simply doubled down on them.
And he will find it is a losing strategy. There are approximately 5 million more women in the United States than there are men. Despite his constant claims that "women love me" and that he will win the majority of American female votes, he is going to find that he made a critical miscalculation when he looks back at this point in time.